Sunday, October 30, 2005


I wasn't kidding about belly shots. People staring at my stomach is pretty stressful for me. My stomach getting uncontrollably bigger is REALLY stressful for me. So the photos are going to be relatively few. But here's one from the pumpkin party today.


Friday, October 28, 2005

Ask, and ye shall receive

Cait has already alluded to how I feel about this whole aspect of pregnancy and blogging, but since the clamor is building to a dull roar, I will share a few belly pictures. Remember, you asked for it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

What has happened to Julie? Yesterday she put up a funny new post, but by the afternoon her site was down (seeming to have technical problems) and as of today it is as if her site does not exist - the address takes you to one of those "Go Daddy" buy-this-domain-name kind of sites. WTF?!?!? I need my Julie!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Miraculous Monday

Our Monday medical experience was NOTHING like the weekend madness. It's enough to redeem one's faith in Western medicine. Oh wait, it was the midwives we saw on Monday. Make that, it's enough to renew one's enthusiasm for non-bureacratized, people-centered, natural health care.

We went to the orientation session at BirthCare last night and really liked it (except for the bratty toddler running around with insufficient supervision from his parents). It helped us re-connect with everything that draws us to midwifery care and assuaged some of our lingering concerns about out-of-hospital births. It was a bit unsettling that the woman who ran the session was the last midwife we'd seen at the Maryland birth center -- the one who could not find a heartbeat when we lost Coqui last year -- but she remembered us and was very kind. She even let us hear Harpo's heartbeat with a Doppler after everyone else was gone!

It more than made up for all the crap of the past few days.

(Oh, and Cait's arm is doing fine. Still itching but we haven't had to cut it off.)

Sunday, October 23, 2005


It's disclaimer month here, so be warned: if you are medically squeamish, you might want to skip this one.

We're all about the infections here at AddProb. We've got infected computers, Lyme infection, a sinus infection* and now... an infected IV line. Yup, the itchy IV went from bad to worse.

The effort of trying NOT to scratch the raw, inflamed skin around the IV site combined with the torment of constant, agonizing itching, was bad enough. Most of our time at home consisted of Cait's deranged face pressed into mine muttering, "It iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitches!"** I was investigating home straightjacket sales and trying to determine if I could find somewhere to institutionalize her 9 pm - 5 am M-F and weekends.

Sadly, they are all out of beds at St. E's, so we were resigned to a fun, scratchless weekend at home, when we noticed that the blisters were now, well, seeping. So we felt that her poor skin needed some tape-free time, and took the bandage off for a few hours (covering only the actual open wound but leaving the surrounding area untaped). At dinner yesterday, my dad's wife, a nurse, took a look at it and agreed that we should let it air out a bit longer. She gave us some paper tape (as Anonymous had wisely suggested) to use when we got home.

Our plans went out the window when we got home and discovered that about three inches of the line had come out. This is officially Not Good, as the line belongs INSIDE her arm, inside her vein, and most importantly it needs to be STERILE. So we got out our kit, I put on my lovely latex gloves, and started swabbing with alcohol, iodine, and anything else antibacterial I could get my hands on. We called the home health nurse who proceeded to yell at Cait and provide no useful suggestions whatsoever. She said it would be ok to leave it out, but Cait was grossed out by this idea so we struggled to get it back in.

Unfortunately, this morning, we discovered that the site had indeed developed signs of infection (rather oogily) and we packed up and headed off to the emergency room. Good news: it was the shortest ER trip we've ever clocked (3 hours, if you want to know). Bad news: we managed to freak the ER doc, who kept saying, "I'm not sure what to do here. Your doctor should be the one to deal with this." Umm, he's in Baltimore, he doesn't have an on-call service and he SENT HER HERE TO HAVE THE LINE PUT IN IN THE FIRST PLACE. In the end, he did remove the line and culture her arm for bad bugs. He sent us home with dire admonitions to watch for signs of further infection (but allowed that removal of the line was the standard treatment for this kind of problem and cures it in most cases).

So, what did YOU do this weekend?

*Yes, my three month long sinus headache has finally evolved into a sinus infection. But my allergist doesn't want me to take oral antibiotics so she has me dissolving ointment in warm water and squirting it up my nose. Indeedy, we know how to have fun around here.
**with only very occasional biting.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I WISH! ***updated***

My blog is worth $19,194.36.
How much is your blog worth?

I have no idea what this means. I just like the idea that something I have is worth that much! (Hey, could we sell the blog to pay for Cait's medicine? Who the heck would buy it?)


Ok, now I feel really bad. I wasn't trying to depress my friends! You guys have some of the MOST valuable websites on the Internet as far as I am concerned. Seriously.

In the hopes that information might make you fell better, I went and looked into this more. Basically, it all boils down to how many people link to your blog -- that the website acknowledges. I like Technorati, but it does well with Blogger blogs. It doesn't seem to do a good job of keeping track of Typepad blogs. This makes no sense to me since Blogger/Typepad/Moveable Type are all related... but that's the way it is. So those of you who are Typepadders, this may be why your supposed "worth" is zero even if you know lots of people link to you.

Anyway, I LOVE YOUR BLOGS. Please don't feel bad. Or I'll have to send you chocolate chip cookies.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Since You Asked...

Here's the update on the medicine saga:

We have paid for one month out of pocket, and are still waiting for word from our insurance about whether or not they will reimburse us. They were supposed to tell us by last week, but hey, who's counting? Unfortunately, the IV stuff didn't seem to be working this time around. I am on an oral antibiotic now, targeting a different tick-borne pathogen (Bartonella, for those of you keeping score at home), in the hope that its potential existence in my body is the reason I haven't been able to get better and stay better. Next week I go back to my doctor and we decide if I will continue on the oral stuff, switch back to the IV and see if it works better after the oral stuff, or...I don't know what else. This has the potential to be one of those "I don't know what else we can do for you" appointments. Which are always so pleasant after taking half a day off of work, driving for an hour or so, and paying a couple hundred bucks (because of course he's out of network).

So in the meantime, I'm tired, achy, grumpy, and about to remove my right arm because the tape on the picc line is making it ITCH LIKE MAD. I, um, accidentally bit Jen on the arm because it was itching so much. But I've already cried about that, so please don't make me feel like more of a horrible person. Really, I was just going for the shirt sleeve. Though the scar from the actual IV will be small, I fear the itchy welts from the tape will leave me looking rather reptilian for months after the thing is finally removed. And I can't even knit anymore because my hands hurt too much, so Harpo will only have a hat and one sleeve of a sweater. Grrr.

I feel horrible about being so whiny, but that's how I'm feeling right now. I'm so done with all of this. I want my body back. I want to be able to be helpful and supportive to Jen. I want to be a good mother to Harpo, should we be lucky enough to have him/her stick around. I just want to be done with drugs and doctors and STUPID ITCHY THINGS ON MY ARM. I'd almost rather be stuck with this for the rest of my life than keep trying thing after thing and having each one fail.

But enough of me. It's time for Harpo and mommies to go to bed. We now return you to your regular programming.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Over the River? Or Not?

I want to begin this post with apologies and a heads up to my infertile and struggling friends. Inevitably, this blog has recently become more and more of a pregnancy blog, and I know that can be painful for people who so desperately want to be pregnant. This post in particular is about childbirth and choices, and I know we're very lucky to be getting to think about these choices. If you don't want to read this, please don't -- with our blessings -- but know that we've been so glad to have your love and support throughout our journey, and can't wait to return it to you however you find your children.

At a certain point in most pregnancies, prospective parents have to confront the array of birth choices available to them. Do they want to birth at a hospital or a birth center? Would they consider home birth? Do they want medication and/or technological interventions? Obstetrician or midwife? In the US, these choices are affected by geography, class, and access to insurance among other things. Not surprisingly, sexual orientation adds to the complexity of the choice.

Here in the DC area, Cait and I appear to be lucky in our choices. There are many hospitals of all scopes and sizes (major teaching hospitals, local community hospitals, facilities with and without religious affiliations, etc.), a variety of freestanding birth centers, and even licensed midwives who will oversee home births. Many families don't have this range of options in other parts of the country (hell, some women can't even find an OB in their state due to malpractice insurance rates).

Unfortunately, our menu of choices shrinks when you factor in things like insurance. We found out last week that our insurance does not participate with three out of the four area birth centers. This is a real challenge because we're leaning toward midwifery care at this point. We believe that unmedicated, low intervention births (when appropriate and wanted) are safe and beneficial for both the baby and mother(s). Most of the major obstetric practices in our area tends to be conservative in their practices, whereas midwives are open to a wider range of labor management techniques. Though they worked side by side in recent years, the OB/midwife divide is becoming more rigid in DC, and it's increasingly difficult to have a midwife in a hospital. There were several practices that delivered in hospitals but now it seems like they've all stopped delivering (one went out of business, one does only prenatal and well-woman care, etc.). So birth centers or homebirths are becoming the only option for having midwifes.

"But what about that fourth birth center?" you say. Weeeeell, that birth center is fantastic. Everyone we've ever talked to who has birthed there or toured the place raves about it. Unfortunately, it happens to be located in Virginia, and Virginia is not a gay-friendly state, to put it mildly. Last year at a discussion on protecting gay and lesbian families, one of the area's leading lawyers on queer family issues bluntly advised prospective families in Virginia thusly: "Move." And her caveat to pregnant lesbians in the greater DC area was, "Don't go across any bridges after your 7th month." Things have changed since then, and it is now possible to get a birth certificate reisssued showing the names of both parents (though, regardless of gender, one will be listed as "Mother" and the other "Father") but legal experts fear this will be contended and the courtroom fights for the sanctity and safety of GLBT families in VA will continue for years to come.

Our lawyer has said that it would be ok for us to give birth in Virginia, but not ideal. And frankly, I doubt that the birth certificate will be at the top of my list of concerns in labor. But I'm pretty good at coming up with stuff to worry about left to my own devices. The last thing I need is external sources of angst to subtly undermine my psyche during the birth process. And every option now open to us has some source of worry and frustration built in.

  1. The birth center in MD, if we choose to go out of network and pay for the privilege (fear factor: the added cost).
  2. The birth center in VA (fear factor: the future legal status of our family)
  3. Hospital birth with an OB who shares our belief in low-intervention births (fear factor: the doctor and hospital won't keep their word)
  4. Home birth (fear factor: something going wrong that could be prevented in another setting)
I know that we are lucky on so many levels to have this many choices when all is said and done. We have insurance after all, and won't bear the full cost of a delivery no matter what we do. We even have the financial resources to think about paying to get around the hurdles of the system. We are in an area with many doctors to choose from, so we probably could find one in tune with our beliefs about childbirth (though obstetrical practices in the DC area are greatly governed by fear of malpractice and open-minded doctors are often overruled by hospital bureacracy). As lesbians, we're lucky to HAVE a choice of jurisdictions, some of which discriminate less than others, in which to give birth. And, finally, so far I am healthy enough that all care settings are open to me.

But it infuriates me that the one choice that could meet all of our desires -- the birth center in Virginia -- is not totally safe for us, simply because we are two women creating a family together.

END NOTE: Before people start thinking that I am attacking them or their birth choices/experiences, let me say that I don't judge anyone else's decisions about where or how to birth, and I don't think that certain kinds of births are inherently bad. Having a healthy baby is the ultimate priority for us, and in some circumstances interventions are essential to the survival and health of the baby and mother. I also know that the birth and time immediately afterward is an eyeblink in comparison to the rest of our child's life and our life as a family, but it's an important eyeblink and one we want to approach thoughtfully and carefully.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Baker's Joy

After what seems like an eternity, the stove and the oven are FIXED!

And there was much rejoicing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Google my first name and the word "needs" and you will find out that Jennifer needs...

1. a cold shower!
2. time to heal.
3. to make a video
4. a tutor who can help a client with their Probability Exam in theSomerville area
5. prayers for steanth to reslove many problem thank you [and maybe an editor.]

A tip of the pixel to Liza and Trista, who pointed me in this silly direction! (I gotta say, I was a bit disappointed that the combination of J.Lo and Aniston didn't come up with anything better than these!)

Edited to add that Cait apparently needs:

1. a diet*
2. some fluids
3. a bit of inspiring right now
4. help with this AND could really use the help of the Senators [!!]
5. a woman she can talk with.

Geez, Cait, it ain't THAT bad!

*Not funny. Recovered anorexics DO NOT need diets.

Monday, October 10, 2005


14 week appointment today. We didn't like this doctor much, but we LOVED Harpo! We got -- oh, too briefly -- to hear the heartbeat: 140 BPM (right on target!!). We scheduled the big ultrasound for six weeks from today, the Monday of Thanksgiving week. We're hoping to have LOTS for which to give thanks.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mmm-mmm good!

We pause now for an entirely different kind of domesticity. Many, many thanks are due to AfrIndieMum, who has no idea why I am thanking her.

If you asked anyone in Cait's family to tell you something about me, chances are they'd say, "She loves to cook!" (Ok, it might not be the first answer but if we were playing Family Feud it would certainly be on the board and probably in the top 5.) In fact, one Christmas almost everything I got from her family had to do with cooking. Including one of these (now AfrIndie is starting to understand).

I had heard of them and was interested but also a bit scared. (Baking on flexible plastic? It just seems wrong!) So I stuck it in the baking cupboard and... forgot all about it. Every once in a while I came across it when cleaning or reorganizing cabinets (most recently when packing them up for the Great Countertop Replacement) and thought, "Oh, I should try that." But I never did.

And then AfrIndieMum posted that her desire to have one of these was so great that she consented to host a bakeware party! I have to admit that caught my interest. So when i went to bake cookies tonight (which I had to do in the community kitchen since our %$&*%^$& stove is still broken), I tried it. Oh, my god, is it cool! Check it out:

One cookie was made directly on the pan; the other on the liner. (Disclaimer: they were two different types of pan, one being that stupid, cheap, thick supposedly "commercial" baking pan type, which was the only thing available in the community kitchen. The other was a thin, baking sheet with a single rim). Well, that Exopat did mightily - the cookies were uniformly cooked, browned but not burnt, done but still soft, and practically jumped off the pan. The other? Not so good. The cookies melted too much around the edges, getting burnt and crumbly, and the centers didn't get cooked evenly. I. LOVE. IT. And I didn't have to wash the cookie sheet either!

Thanks, AIM!

Monday, October 03, 2005

On a Lighter Note...

First, let me say to those of you who have been asking for belly shots that Jen will never consent to having her bare belly photographed and placed on the internet. Sorry to disappoint you. However, I did manage to get some shots of her in the cute overalls with the beginnings of a pregnant belly. Here they are...

One Angry Queer Woman

UPDATED - @#@^% stove is going to cost over $300 to fix. Not my day.

Ok, I freely admit that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. (Actually, any side of the bed that required getting OUT of it was the wrong side today.) And it didn't help that our $#$@(* stove was on the fritz again this morning so I had to go to the common house to use the stove in the community kitchen to cook the breakfast I didn't even want but had to eat. And then the keyless entry system wasn't working so I had to go around to the back door to get in to the kitchen... anyway, this morning did not start well and I was in no mood for bureacratic homophobia.

All that said, could somebody please explain to me WHY ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH MY MARITAL STATUS MATTERS ONE WHIT FOR MY PROSPECTIVE JURY DUTY?!?!?!?* For DC court, at least, the juror questionnaire includes a place where one has to check off one's current marital status. Shockingly, neither "partnered" nor "prevented from being married by stupid laws and bigotry" are choices on the form. Nor is the dreaded "other". So, when I went to fill out the form, as Cait had done a few months ago, I left the stupid question blank. Silent protest. Civil disobedience. Thumbing my nose at authority. Whatever you want to call it.

Unfortunately, I needed to request a deferment. The DC Courts have actually joined the modern era, and this can now be done online! (Longtime DC residents will share my astonishment.) However, in order to do so, I had to complete the juror questionnaire online as the paper copy had not yet been received. Intractable as computers are, I could not simply skip the question this time. Meaning that in order to fulfill my civic duty and help ensure the rights of other citizens, I had to be slapped in the face yet again by the ways in which MY basic rights are denied. And for no apparent purpose. Can anyone explain one reason why a juror's marital status would affect their eligibility to serve on a jury? And no, I'm not talking about actually being CHOSEN for a jury. Just being in the pool - which in the District means you can breathe and you are 18 years of age or older.

I can see other situations in which this stupid question would unnecessarily bother people. What if you were recently widowed or divorced? What if you were single and very sad and bitter about it? There are times when marital status DOES matter - but this isn't one of them.

Maybe I'll make a t-shirt to wear on the day I go to serve. "Queer, pregnant, and pissed. Do you really WANT me on your jury?"

*Oh, yes, FF friends, I did jinx myself when I bragged a few weeks ago that I hadn't been called in years. I think the minute my fingers typed the words, the summons left the court.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

October 1

A year ago today we had an ultrasound. At 12 weeks, 4 days, we thought we were beyond the risky first trimester, and were looking forward to more energy and less nausea in the second tri. What we actually saw is forever etched in my brain. I can still feel the desperate, "if he just gets to the right angle, everything will look like it's supposed to and everything will be OK," as we stared at the still, silent screen.

A year later, at 12 weeks, 4 days again, we're hopeful. The feeling of being torn into a million pieces has subsided. We've made it through additional obstacles, grief, and anger. But the lingering fear and sadness are still there. We miss the child that didn't get to be born, and the life we didn't get to have this past year. We fear for the future of this pregnancy, not for any rational reason, but simply because it's hard to trust that everything will be OK, when it so was not last time. And so, we move forward, because it is the only thing we can do. And we hope. And we remember.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Our thoughts and hearts are with everyone that has suffered a loss. If you know someone who has had a miscarriage or lost a baby, let them know you are thinking of them and their loss.